THE RESURGENCE OF NATIONALISM IN THE EUROPEAN UNION

Mădălina Calance Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iași calancemadalina@yahoo.com Abstract: Considering the process of integration and the enlargement of the European Union, the continent's political map changed significantly during the last decades. For most of the European nations, facing the integration is going on the path of the economic and social improvement, which also involves important aspects about the nation-state (national identity, nationalism). This paper will focus on the meanings and the dimensions of contemporary nationalism and will later look at the impact of the nationalist ideas in the EU, in times of recession. The study found out that there are many perspectives of the EU challenging national economies and the state sovereignty but, at the same time, people are aware the imminence of the European identity in their economic and cultural future. Keywords: nationalism, national identity, European identity, immigration, populist parties JEL Classification: F15, F52, F59

INTRODUCTION

In the European history, the idea of nationalism has very deep roots. The nationalist ideology is a chameleon over time, being adapted to the prerogatives of a certain nation, the theoretical interpretations of a historical period or to specific political circumstances. Certainly, nationalism is one of the major phenomenons of the last two centuries, whose expression is a reflection of multiplying the nation-states from a dozen (mostly in Europe) to thousands. This increase demonstrates the strength of the principle of self-determination, which proclaims the right of people and nations to establish their own course of political, economic, cultural and social development, without outside interventions. Under the aegis of globalization, important economic and political changes are occurring throughout the world, due to the activity of multinational or transnational corporations, interstate economic organizations or supranational organizations (such as the European Union), with a major impact on the sovereignty of the national state, considered to be more powerless in solving global problems such as: monetary policy, security, the regulation of commercial activities, etc. The new shape of world politics is emerging the idea of the state losing sovereignty in favour of higher political entities. There are many aspects of the European Union challenging national sovereignty. This fact is feeding the nationalist and populist criticism and is shaping a resistance phenomenon. Therefore, we can notice an antagonistic relationship between nationalists, focusing on the set of

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On the other hand. was a dominant factor alike in dynastic movements and as an inner motive in the life of masses of population. the approach of a unified society is paradoxically emphasizing notions as "difference".interests and aspirations of a nation and supra nationalism . as in United Germany and in North America. Otherwise. as in the cases of Austro.britannica. (1). Nationalism was the most successful political force of the XIXth century. enlarging the area of nationality. [… ] Sometimes nationality was taken as a basis of federation of States.co m CES Wo rking Papers. and the Swiss Federation. the new political system created the dilemma of nationstate. THE PAST AND PRESENT OF EUROPEAN NATIONALISM An Encyclopaedia Britannica * overview submits that nationalism is an ideology based on the premise that the individual’s loyalty and devotion to the nation-state surpass other individual or group interests. financial and international migration. which supports the reinforcement of national identies. In both. Inevitably. or establishment of political union on a basis of nationality. which reveals the possibility of higher authorities to manage and enforce rules and judgments directly to the national structures. Whether individuals are single or organized in communities. According to the English economist John A. It is true that the forces making for political union sometimes went further. and therefore adopted the motto”Unity in diversity” (lat. IV. This view tends to be anachronistic in the context of a galloping XXI st century globalization. 2012 25 .” (p. The national identity is now facing especially the contact with other national cultures. Hobson (2005) during the nineteenth century ’’ the struggle towards nationalism. "identity" or "independence". the general tendency was towards welding into large strong national unities the loosely related states and provinces with shifting attachments and alliances that covered large areas. That struggle. In varietate concordia).Hungary. Furthermore. nationalism is a doctrine that differentiates the individuals in their nationality. they always feel the need for distinction. making for federal union of diverse nationalities. integration seems to dissipate the political borders of nation-states. by facilitating trade flows.3) * www. in external politics. the socio-cultural interconnectivity leads to the emergence of nationalist ideas that are either justified or exaggerated. at a global level. a sociological or psychological perspective. sometimes took a disruptive form […] or sometimes it was a unifying or a centralising force. However. The European Union understood this imperative. 1. not only economical. but socially as well. Norway and Sweden.

so the EU institutions (the European Court of Justice. The Second World War ends with the communist regimes takeover. fed by growing nationalist resentments of citizens or immigrants. the collapse of communism and the European Union enlargement were succeeded by the removal of anti-democratic aspects. habits). Supranational is normative. IV. to please the people of Europe. especially in countries with dictatorial (fascist) regime. as well. racism and xenophobia. the national boundaries are redrawn. Cas Mudde (2004 a) studies the issue of populist parties and defines them as „political parties that share an ideology which combine features as: nationalism. 2012 26 .4). xenophobia refers to the fear of anything alien (including people. (1). the economic recession proves once again that the emergence of nationalism is a condition. and which argues that politics should be an expression of the volonté générale (general will) of the people” (Mudde 2004 b. authoritarianism denotes a strict belief in law and order (yet not necessarily an antidemocratic attitude). the European Court of Human Rights or the Commission) impose standards on states. the far-right parties are rising in Europe. According to Riva Kastoryano (2010). nationalism is a major challenge for the EU by raising the issue of minorities. CES Wo rking Papers.In middle of the XXth century the European nationalism loses its original meaning becoming more aggressive. The same author claims that” nationalism entails a polit ical doctrine arguing the convergence of state (the political unit) and nation (the cultural unit). At the end of the century. Many voices. p. In times of austerity. or populism” (p. 543). ideas. from the academic or the political field. are putting into question the power of the nation state. the nationalism being transformed in empathy for the national working class and xenophobia for the capitalist side. the nationalist ideas and the future of national economies. identity and diversity and questioning the Union’s capacity to lead the states beyond their features. This creates a reaction from the far-right parties. The supra.national character of the Union requires that all member states should surrender a part of their sovereignty by correlating the legislation and applying the directives of the European institutions. by promoting chauvinism. These parties have managed to legitimize policies by nationalist and protectionist approach. xenophobia. On the other hand. With the European Union. authoritarianism. seeking to redefine the principles of states and the national identity against the supranational institutions. and populism refers to an ideology that considers society ultimately separated into two homogeneous and antagonistic ’pure people’ versus ’the corrupt elite’.

Serbia. Ro mania. Northern Cyprus. religion. Slovenia. He claims that ”in the cultural sphere. 2012 27 . Spain. as well as in language. Malta. Russia. Croatia. Hungary. many people believed that EU was an organism able to protect national identity. Lu xembourg. Austria. Fin land. historical or ethnic references. IV. A zerbaijan. etc. Ireland. * † http://europa. Also. Therefore. Norway. Ukraine. 144) . Republic of Moldova. (1). Portugal. Georg ia. Belarus. race. Northern Ireland.). Otherwise. and ultimately in the world as a whole. Bulgaria. Armen ia.htm Research aria: A lbania.1 Protecting national identity On a late 90’s survey† initiated by The European Values Study questioning the opinion on the European Union. Bosnia -Herzegovina. law. Poland. Den mark. The Netherlands.national legitimacy’. Anthony Smith (1991) sees national identity as the most fundamental and inclusive of all collective identities (class. Greece. 2. Belgiu m. Sweden.2. the generally accepted boundary within which intercourse normally takes place and the limit for distinguishing the ’outsider’. Regarding the relations between the Union and the Member States. the approaches of national identity are configured on cultural. CES Wo rking Papers. Lithuania. Estonia. Cyprus. Republic of Macedonia. France. For Smith. the nation-states and the national identity are fundamental dimensions of the modern world. Great Britain. Latvia. 144).” (p. values and memories. Italy. Swit zerland. Smith (1991) speaks about national identity in political terms as determining the co mposition of the regime ’s personnel and legitimating the policy goals and administrative practices for every citizen. by commanding the basic political allegiance of citizens. the national bond provides the most inclusive community. Turkey. have become the only recognized source of ‘inter. because of their omnipresence and universality. ethnic or historical backgrounds. Germany (East/West). in terms of both territory and of resources and skills” (p. Republic of Montenegro.eu/scadplus/constitution/objectives_en. NATIONAL AND EUROPEAN IDENTITY The meaning of national identity is based on the concept of nation-state (as its founding principle) that relies on cultural. Iceland. Slovak Republic. Czech Republic. ”the nation and the national identity. The nation may also be seen as the basic unit of moral economy. the European Constitutional Treaty brings the obligation to respect the national identities and the fundamental political and constitutional structures of the Member States * . of the validity of a system of states in each region and continent. gender. institutions and ceremonies. statistics show that the feelings of belonging to EU are tending to be very similar in nature to the way citizens are proud of their nationality. Socially. Kosovo. national identity is revealed in a whole range of assumptions and myths.

the frequency of sceptical views has increased considerably. 2012 28 . historical and cultural identities. of people saying they are ”not afraid of all” (17%).org/) In 2008. the fear of loosing national identity was more intense. If ten years before some people may have had fears about the consequences of the European Union openness. there is a greater percentage of the answers favouring the idea of European Union as protective for the national identity (about 75 %): Figure 1 – Opinion on European Union: National Identity (1990-1999) Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat. Their national economic interests would also be sacrificed. IV. As we can see in Figure 2.gesis. Few people were thinking that unifying the European states would mean the end of their national.For them. the percentage of people who answered they were ” very much afraid” of loosing national culture or identity almost equals the percentage of negative answers. CES Wo rking Papers. As we can see in Figure 1. (1). historical and cultural identities and their national economic interests from the challenges of the superpowers. due to important factors such as the global crisis. the unemployment or the immigration. in times of recession. only a truly united Europe could protect its states national.

2005). With the dissipation of borders induced by increased international collaboration and the influx of labor force in the European market.2 Immigration Immigration affects the national economic system and always represented an important social problem.Figure 2 – Fear of loosing national identity (2008) Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat. with the EU consolidation. The European nationalism of the XIXth century was an unifying force which brought together people of diverse backgrounds at the price of subordinating their ethnic identities to the larger territorial unit dominated by the secular state (Pamir. In response to xenophobia of the host population the immigrants could preserve their national identity and CES Wo rking Papers. because the mobility of individuals comes with the external migration phenomenon. 2012 29 . the state and the ethnic identities operate and interact in a larger. Furthermore. the international migration flows can be considered by the host population as a threat to the national identity and can cause nationalist reactions of rejection. Today.gesis. higher incomes or just a better lifestyle. it offers the opportunity for business to expand and for millions of people to have better jobs. (1). common space. At the same time we are facing a negative phenomenon. IV.org/) 2.

As we can see in the below charts (figures 3 and 4). Thus. A similar percentage sees the future of society affected by the proportion of immigrants. even within nation-states. there is a rare situation when a state administers a homogeneous community. nationalism finds expression inside the communities living within nationstates and aspires to autonomy or their own state constitution (e. and only few disagree with this assumptions. many people are considering that immigrants take jobs away from natives in a country and will become a threat to society.maintain strong links with the original community. CES Wo rking Papers. the evolution of multicultural states is a major threat to nationalist ideology.gesis. In Europe. as well. 2012 30 . the Hungarians in Transylvania). Therefore. as a result of integration. penetration and mixture of individuals from different cultura l backgrounds other than the reference country are leading to the development of multicultural communities. IV. being a challenge for cultural heritage of nations. we are witnessing an increasing diversity inside the national space. and migration continues to erode faith in the nation-state. Instead of a uniform European society.g.org/) About 40% of respondents asked in the survey belived that immigrants are causing damages on the national labor market. (1). Figure 3 – EU citizens opinion on immigrants taking their jobs Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat. In fact.

that are expressed mostly through the voice of nationalist or populist parties. or immigration. The France National Front (FN). exceeding 10 % (figure 5). 2012 31 . which are disrupted by the globalization. The current global recession hit hard the Euro Zone. (1). We have the example of the ’29. Sweden. the dependence on powerful supranational bodies are often causing discontents and emerging nationalist ideas. Europhobic parties are challenging the European democracy.3 The nationalist parties The political and economic history of Europe shows us that the economic recession leads to the emergence of nationalism and enhances the credibility of nationalist governments.immigrant parties in Europe. xenophobic. in Finland. challenging the economy and the common currency. Hungary. True Finns party. The Dutch Freedom Party and the Danish People's Party. Moreover. France or Belgium the rise of populist.org/) 2. the inequality and poverty in developing countries. the Netherlands. Austria. In Finland.’33 crisis that paved the way for Hitler or Mussolini’s nationalist governments. the instability. the job losses. which is eurosceptic CES Wo rking Papers. Denmark. Italy.Figure 4 – EU citizens opinion on immigrants representing a social threat Source: Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (http://zacat.gesis. the negative ”domino” effects of globalization. They represent the voice of citizens. BBC News Europe also indicates a resurgence of nationalism in Europe by recording the electoral results for some of the most successful nationalist/ anti. IV. which are anti-Islamist.

. Figure 5 – Average votes for nationalist parties in the last 3 general elections Source: www. IV.and a strong opponent of the immigration. 2012 32 .co m According to a STRATFOR * (2011) study.stratfor.starfor. seeking to complete the Romanian territory. which would grant Hungarian citizenship to ethnic Hungarians outside its borders and Romanians. such as Hungary. the ongoing economic crisis ”has corroborated much of that which they advocate: those immigration policies should be reformed. that the European integration process should be reverted. Bulgaria is fighting * The world's leading private intelligence firm (www. in the past 3 years.” In central Europe. and that their national identities should be protected. (1). they all have great political influence by achieving trust and votes from the electorate. offensive or defensive nationalism are a source of tension between neighbor states. in the minds of many nationalist parties in Europe.co m) CES Wo rking Papers. etc.

4-27. Of course. is expressed by targeting immigration.britannica. New York: Cosimo Inc. the acceptance of immigration may be assured by a more active integration policy.bbc.co. Not all these nationalist issues will withdraw in the near future. (1).d) Nationalism .org/.J. No. Great social and economic processes like the integration or the globalization can find a serious opponent in extreme nationalism. Each of these problems finds support in the progressive nationalist speeches of the populist parties. intolerance.against Muslim Turkish and Roma minorities. far from defining the territorial boundaries of states. the European model of society can defend itself and protect the national identity. Once again. and rejection of the other. Islam or multiculturalism for strengthening the borders that define the national identity. involving their habits and lifestyles. Only by assuming and highly asserting its own values. (2004 a) Globalization: The multi-faced enemy?.3. providing tensions. (2005) Imperialism: A Study. available on BBC News Europe. restoring industrial and trade policies by making them more offensive could abolish criticisms against the economic openness of the EU. accessed on February 2012 at: http:/www. The fact that EU states shared their sovereignty is a source of ambiguity. Kohn.uk/news/world-europe-13115454. C. acessed on February 2012 at: http://zacat. Today’s nationalism. Economic and cultural international relations will always be affected by the differences between people. CONCLUSIONS Nationalism is made in Europe. as well. available at http://www. This is why the European democracy is often helpless in front of the simplistic populist thinking. Europe encountered the resurgence of nationalism. Mudde. paradox and nationalist extremes. IV. 2012 33 .gesis. the historical experience of all European nations tells us that its story will never end. A degeneration of the situation is a major threat for the already fragile European populations. In addition. A. CERC Working Paper.com/EBchecked/topic/405644/nationalism. REFERENCES Europe: Nationalist resurgence (2011). (n. in times of massive immigration and crisis. H. Hobson. pp. Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. CES Wo rking Papers.

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